October 2004

Summary: Halloween and Potluck and Steve L's Birthday Party, Patrick sees Alan Hollinghurst and Ha Jin at readings, Tony and Bobby come over for French dinner, GAMX Halloween Party, Halloween Party at Tony Q's, The Inn at Parkside in Sacramento

Dates on this page

Fri 1

Reviewed the week's materials. I finished Harry Potter 5 last night—it's such a good book I'm reading it again! Tried to install and configure cwRsync and then sync2NAS, gave up on both after several hours because they wouldn't easily do what I needed to do. Went back to trying XXCOPY and got it to do what I want, though not as elegantly as I might have liked. I think there's a way to do it, but I'd probably have to spend another few days reviewing all its options to figure it out. Ran backups with my somewhat inelegant script for now.

Sat 2

Brunch: Rain Tree Cafe, a diner in the Inner Sunset with very good service. On the way we ran into Heather and said hello a few minutes. Patrick went to Tart to Tart to meet some students from his Chinese class for language exchange. I stopped in at BriKelJess's place but no one was home. Looked in at The Gap—as usual lots of things on sale but nothing in my size. On the street, I ran into Nina and Simma who were on their way to the Love Parade—some kind of dance party parade festival at Embarcadero—I hadn't heard about it. Waited for Patrick at Spike's, but he was late so I met him instead at Castro and Market. We shopped unsuccessfully for clothes in the Castro. Ran in to Jeff at Injeanious. Chatted with Adrian at Body. He tried to help me find clothes that fit me, but I decided we really needed Body Kids (which doesn't exist). Somewhere along the way in our Castro Street walk, we saw homemade signs advertising a "BIG ASS SALE." Picked up a movie at Superstar. Picked up a few pastries for breakfast at a new cafe on Castro Street called Le Bon Gateau. We chatted with Little Brian outside of Body while he waited for Adrian to get off from work. Took the L train home, ran into first-year student Doug on the train. Repaired a chair which somehow had gotten a broken leg so a chunk had chipped off—just a little glue. Melissa stopped by unexpectedly with a large bunch of beautiful dahlias to thank us for dinner and for helping with her computer. We met her mom and her housemate. Patrick chatted with Sam on the phone. Shower. Dinner: leftovers with basil-lemon-garlic chicken. Edited the Lodestar subscriber list to delete bounces from the most recent issue. Tried to install and configure Unison, gave up after 10 minutes because I didn't want to bother with installing ssh on Windows systems and I didn't want to run it insecurely. Finished backups.

Sun 3

Breakfast: pastries from Le Bon Gateau. We had originally planned to go to the Castro Street Fair, but this morning Patrick's hip was feeling a little weird so we decided to stay home. I installed Windows XP SP2 on our computers—no problems so far. Experimented with Adobe Audition 1.0. Did some digital housekeeping and disk defragmentation. Did linkchecking for non-work websites. Upgraded anti-virus on 3 computers. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftovers. Returned a movie to Superstar. Dessert with Patrick at Le Bon Gateau. I had a lemon ginger tea and a tiramisu cake, Patrick had a Schwarzkopf chocolate cake (chocolate cake, praline something, and nougatine) and decaf coffee. Each cake was about 3 inches in diameter and about 2.5 inches tall. Patrick's Schwarzkopf was so rich he couldn't eat it all and even refused to finish it! Mine seemed just as rich. The cakes were $5 each. The bill came to around $14 (no tip since there was no table service). We arrived at around 7:30 PM. The Castro Street Fair had just ended. Loads of trash were being swept up by street cleaning trucks going back and forth repeatedly through the streets. Drunk people were oozing in and out of bar entrances. The cafe's doorway looks right onto the window display at Cliff's, which is currently showing a giant clock made out black numbers for 12, 3, 6, and 9 and other Umbra clocks in place of the rest of the numbers. The clock did not have the correct time, which we thought was not a very good reflection on the accuracy of Umbra timepieces. It was a little surreal to watch the giant clock framed by the the new cafe's rich red walls and doorway, the second hand of the clock revolving smoothly and silently while huge machinating bugs crept noisily left and right spraying water and swirling their yellow emergency lights as warning beacons to all items of refuse: Prepare to be sucked up!

Mon 4

Banana for breakfast. Back to work after having been in Windows Server 2003 training all last week. Caught up on the 167 e-mails that had collected, resolving or following up on open issues and took care of about two thirds of them. Chatted with Joel and Heather and D--? briefly about TV and about yesterday's fair. Heather, who had worked a booth at the fair, said the crowd at times was packed in like Halloween—crazy. Made mass changes to our mailing list configurations to reduce worm-related spam. Chatted with Kirk H. (Thanks, Kirk!) Lunch: chicken cacciatore with brown rice and mixed vegetables, an orange. Helped James resolve a problem in which Microsoft Word would print an unwanted summary statistics page (or information page) every time he printed a document. (Answer: Uncheck Tools > Options > Print > Include with document: Document Properties.) Somehow that option got checked and he didn't realize it. The answer was hard to find in Google but I eventually found it doing an advanced search, excluding all filetypes that were PDF, and searching on the most unique text of the unwanted output: "As of Last Complete Printing." When I got home, I found that Patrick had put old bath towels down on the kitchen floor, which meant that the overflowing water problems had returned. Within minutes after he got home and filled me in, more water started coming out and onto the floor—the neighbors upstairs were doing laundry. I couldn't reach our upstairs neighbors on the cellphone number we have for them, so I ran to their front door to explain the problem. After that I left messages with our landlords who called back after a little while—they'll try to bring the plumbers back in the morning. It's been very frustrating, but I know the landlords have been spending a lot of money on plumbers to fix the problem. We certainly can't complain that they aren't trying. Exercise. Dinner at home with Patrick: fried salmon, leftover mac and cheese, green beans. Caught up on some e-mail. Checked out Tony's photos from the Love Parade, which we thought looked like a daytime rave—everything looked so 1991! We're sort of glad we didn't go. Finished watching Speed (1994) taped from broadcast TV. It loses a lot on a 15-inch LCD screen, but we were still entertained by it despite its many faults. (Why was Jack Traven written to be so irresponsible?) I kept wanting to swat at the corner of the screen when reminders to watch the station's other TV shows would appear out of nowhere just after the movie returned from a commercial break. Oh, how TV has changed. Unless we tell them, young'uns today will never know that such things didn't happen. And the crazy reality shows we saw advertisements for in between! I can only hope that Americans in 2054 will look back on this era of TV with shame. I know I already do.

Tue 5

Oatmeal with pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar. Student computing meeting. Lunch: spaghetti with cow sauce, vegetable soup, garlic bread. Computer setup for Cindy and student Andrea N. Sophos updates. Dinner by myself at Cybelle's: blue cheese burger with potato wedges, water.

Wed 6

I dreamt last night I was watching a movie on a screen with a screen ratio of 10:1. It was a Star Wars film and we got to see never-before-released footage of Han Solo talking to another (new) bounty hunter. We also got to find out the real reason Han left his home planet. Oatmeal with pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar. More computer setup same as yesterday. Patrick got upset today when he walked into a bookstore and saw that the other Patrick Ryan had gotten a story published in a new anthology. There just happens to be another person in the world with the same first and last name who also happens to be a gay writer. We had dinner at Xiao Loong because he also had a lengthy exam today for Second Language Acquisition, so we were both too exhausted to cook dinner. My fortune: A friend you see as gold and silver reflects your own precious qualities. (I stuck Patrick's fortune in my pocket, but couldn't find it later.) Deep-fried wontons with cream cheese. Garden vegetables. Sichuan spicy garlic and eggplant. Shandong pork with shitake mushrooms. Steamed rice. Our landlords had plumbers install a larger drain pipe today, so hopefully that will fix all of the water problems we've been having.

Thu 7

I dreamt last night I was part of a kickball/softball team and we had a player who wasn't very good at the games but who enjoyed holding ice from the drink cooler in his hands. First and third were loaded and our ice hand player was up to bat. Scrambled eggs, hash browns, and a croissant with Patrick for breakfast. More computer setup. A few days ago I was waiting outside of an Irving Street gift shop called Wishbone when I overheard the short conversation between two women, each walking a dog. One of the women introduced herself expressing an interest in the other woman's dog, and in the same breath as saying hello she asked the woman if she might be interested in her dog mating with the first woman's dog. I don't know if this is a common introductory question amongst dog owners, but it struck me as rather rude and bizarre. The asked woman replied politely that her dog was unfortunately neutered, gave a smile, and continued fussing with the dog's collar or something. The other woman smiled, too, said something like, "Oh, well, they would have made a nice couple" and continued on her way. Helped James with a printing problem. Updated links to the Pharm Chem website. Installed Office 2003 for Cindy. Andrea N came by to pick up her computer. I finished with Cindy's new old computer setup (for now). Tom Farrell at Sophos was especially helpful in helping me figure out a problem with my Sophos installation. Thanks, Tom! Dinner at home with Patrick: pork chops, asparagus, garlic bread. Dessert: meringue-filled cookies from Le Bon Gateau: one hazelnut and another pistachio. Watched a movie, recorded more Simpsons from broadcast TV.

Fri 8

Smoot froothie for breakfast: orange and grape. Telecommute day. Linkchecking. Pathway declaration pages for Kristina. Grad filing pages for Cindy. Account and wireless issues work for the Student Computing Committee. Lunch: leftover pork chops and leftover potato wedges. Security review. Music for today: Dylan Drazen. Dinner at home with Patrick: oven-baked chicken, asparagus, bread and butter. Watched 4 Simpsons episodes.

Sat 9

Breakfast at home with Patrick: I had scrambled eggs and hash browns. Patrick had soggy grape nuts in milk. Errands in the Castro. We had a pumpkin cookie and lattes at Sweet Inspirations. I read from Harry Potter 5 (my second time reading it) and Patrick read from Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty. Home. Installed a new shower head (Lasco, 08-2377, massage action, 2.5 gallons per minute, white and gray, $8.00)—our old one had cracked and was looking rather filthy. Installed a faucet spray (Lasco, 09-2103, Model S, thread on, $4.75) on the kitchen sink. Both items work well. The shower head required some teflon tape ($0.65 for 260 x 0.5 inches) to be applied before threading the shower head on. Looked online for Halloween costumes. Dinner at home by myself: leftover chicken, leftover mac and cheese, peas. Patrick went to dinner with Aaron, and they both went to Alan Hollinghurst's reading at A Clean Well Lighted Place. After the reading, he and Aaron, Kai, and Alina went bar hopping in the Castro. I experimented with Windows Movie Maker 5.1. I was able to learn its interface quickly and edit commercials out of a Simpsons episode and create a cheesy title page, but I realized the whole thing was useless to me when I discovered that it was unable to export or save as MPEG. I don't want my creations locked up in Microsoft's proprietary WMV format! I couldn't find a way to uninstall Windows Movie Maker, so I deleted the shortcut for it from my Start Menu.

Sun 10

Breakfast: hash browns, fruit smoothie. Finished shopping for a sewing machine and carrying case. Napped. Chili dogs snack at Carousel on Sloat. Walked to the beach and watched the sun set. Grocery shopping at Albertson's. Late dinner at home with Patrick: organic endive mixed greens with slivered almonds, swiss cheese bits, tarragon, basil, tomatoes on the vine.

Mon 11

Skipped breakfast. Computer migration for Cindy. Backup and prep for SP2 for Chris's laptop. Minor web page updates. Linkchecking. Fed data to Kevin S regarding fall 2004 account problems. Lunch: pastrami and swiss sandwich, a banana, a plum. Dinner at home with Patrick: bow tie pasta in alfredo sauce with shrimp, bread. Watched Simpsons.

Tue 12

Cream of wheat with brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. 8:30 AM bus 66 didn't show up today. Computer backup and upgrade to SP2 for Chris. Anti-virus maintenance and SP2 upgrade for Mike. Lunch: pastrami and swiss sandwich, a banana, some tortilla chips, tabouli salad, water. Helped Cindy with a delivery. My office has been 83 degrees Fahrenheit today and yesterday. Every now and then the building air flow changes dramatically due to construction on various floors. Danny from the facilities team came and verified that my thermostat was working. He didn't seem to believe that I'd gotten cold air to come out of the vent over my desk, which he observed was covered up with a filter to keep bugs from falling on my desk. He left a message later on my voicemail saying he wasn't sure our part of the building is supposed to get air conditioning. Huh? (We've been getting it since we moved in.) Fixed a firewall problem which prevented others access to my printer. Met with Lori H about the entering class website. Worked with Heather K at ITS to unlock accounts on their web server which had gotten broken into over the summer and they only last week figured it out. Reset passwords, notified appropriate parties. Configured news and calendar items to disappear when the events had passed. Patrick went to Ha Jin's reading tonight at Modern Times. Dinner at home by myself: leftover chicken; portabello mushroom ravioli with tomato, garlic, and mushroom sauce; leftover biscuits; mini organic greens salad with Patrick's French vinaigrette. Watched Simpsons.

Wed 13

Cream of wheat with brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. 8:30 AM bus 66 didn't show up today. Banana and Bosc pear fruit smoothie. Finished computer upgrades for Mike L. Cut my finger while gutting Cindy's old computer for valuable parts. Backed up Chris's old desktop computer. Set up KeePass on some of our computers. Announced new password security changes to the office. Lunch with Patrick at Pasta Pomodoro (415-566-0900, 816 Irving Street): conchiglie pollo with salad and iced tea for Patrick, ravioli di zucca (butternut squash) and plain water for me. Our server was Emily, who was very good. $19.26 before a $3.25 cash tip. I had forgotten that the raviolis sit in a pool of oil, but they're so tasty. It was a warm day, so we sat on the shady back patio at table 54/1. Installed XP SP2 for more office computers. Helped a student with a computer virus. His computer had the symptoms of the trojan known as KKiller but I couldn't find where the trojan exe file was—the registry key that Symantec pointed me to was clean. After about an hour of fruitless troubleshooting, I gave him instructions on how to reformat and reinstall Windows from scratch. House chores: laundry, dishes, garbage. Watched part of the presidential debate between Kerry and Dubya. Shopped for a new laptop for Patrick. Calphalon frying pan glass lid received from repair shop today but it was damaged in transit. Patrick met with Jason B today.

Thu 14

Oatmeal with brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Shopped for new servers, prepared for server migration. Lunch: leftovers from yesterday, tortilla chips. Met with Cindy. Computer Support Committee meeting where they covered a lot of security issues. Made adjustments to a PowerPoint presentation. Got the filesize down from 47 MB to 1.5 MB by removing all the images, saving them as JPEG, and replacing them back into the presentation. Met with Rodney briefly to see about some student data he needed. Handed off account info for Linda C. Created an account for Rodney in the student database. Dinner at Four Season (415-861-2682, 708 14th Street). We had The Mandarin meal for 2: fried shimp, sizzling rice soup, Mongolian beef, garlic chicken, steamed rice, hot tea. The beef dish didn't taste right—the flavor of the sauce wasn't quite right. The shrimp chips that came on the beef plate tasted awful—as though they were fried in rancid oil. We were too lazy to complain and just ate the rest of the food. Throughout the meal we had to swat away or kill fruit flies that hovered in the dining area. We were the only people in the dining room, and I guess our waiter overheard my complaints to Patrick about the meal because when the meal ended he told us next time we could ask for a dish to be exchanged if we didn't like it. You know, they just shouldn't've served us bad food in the first place. You know someone in the kitchen didn't want to pour out a large batch of oil that had been in use for awhile. The rest of the food we ate was good, but it will be a long time before Patrick convinces me to eat here again. Patrick likes that they all spoke Mandarin. They don't take Amex. Patrick's fortune: Don't let unexpected situations "throw" you. My fortune: He likes to flirt, but toward you his intentions are honorable.

Fri 15

Day off from work. Leftovers for breakfast. Used Adobe Audition to separate tracks 11 and 12 on Dido's Life For Rent for Patrick. Track 12 is a hidden (ghost) track—it's not labelled on the CD at all. Regarding the error message "One of the files containing the system's Registry data had to be recovered by use of a log or alternate copy. The recovery was successful." upon logging in to Windows XP SP1 or SP2, there seems to be very little information on the Web about this. MSDN has an old page which simply says, "This Windows 2000 Executive STATUS message is for your information. Choose OK to continue. No other action is needed." Lots of computer support websites recommend routine (chkdsk, scannow/sfc) and drastic (reformat, reinstall) actions. Only one report (by kennytan in Georgetown, Malaysia) from www.chip.com.my confirmed that it was a RAM problem. Trouble is I've recently been seeing this error on more than one computer in the office. Patrick and I went shopping for Halloween costumes. We went to Haight Street and saw the large costume collection at Costumes on Haight. I tried on a winter Swiss military uniform but the jacket was just a little too big for me and the pants were like a balloon. It felt like there were several extra yards of fabric that didn't need to be there. They had mariachi costumes, but we were looking for matador instead. Nothing else really seemed like a good fit both figuratively and literally. We had cheeseburgers (Jack for Patrick, cheddar for me) and fries at Burger Joint (415-864-3833, 700 Haight Street), whose decor is very clean but a bit staid but the burgers and fries were fresh and delicious. We looked in used clothing stores afterwards—still nothing. Dinner at home with Patrick: garden pizza delivered from The Front Room which arrived 20 minutes late and had a soggy center.

Sat 16

Fruit smoothie, bagel and cream cheese with Patrick for breakfast. Called the Sunset Sewing Center (415-564-5200, 1512 Irving Street) to see if they have the Singer 6038 in stock and to find out their price. The man who answered was very rude saying that he only deals with the "regular line" of sewing machines. When I told him I had no idea what that meant, he said that he would be happy to discuss it with me but he has other customers he's waiting on in the store. (Aren't I a customer, too? Why did you bother answering the phone?) When I told him that the 6038 was the only machine I was interested in, he said I had to buy it over the Internet, and he also claimed that I would not get a warranty if I bought over the Internet. Amazon's description clearly states that a 25-year warranty is included, so I think the man at Sunset Sewing Center was lying to me in hopes that I would switch to a different model and buy from him instead. It seems that he and Singer don't have a good relationship. It's quite possible that if I buy the 6038 from Amazon I might have to mail a problematic sewing machine somewhere for service instead of carrying it into a store, but I was expecting that anyhow, so I don't have a problem with that. Errands in the Castro, the Mission, Lakeside Village: returned a movie, bought flowers and cookies and dishwashing detergent. Patrick made a French dinner for me and Tony and Bobby. Pan-roasted with microfine-salted almonds; large green olives; brie; Red Dragon Somerdale mustard seed cheese; organic greens frisee salad with basil, black forest ham, aged cheddar, walnuts, homemade vinaigrette; cassoulet with duck breast, pork loin, salt pork, lamb stew meat, Italian sausage, great northern white beans; pumpkin creme brulee. Tony and Bobby brought a bottle of 2002 Yellow Tail shiraz-cabernet sauvignon which I liked a lot for its mild flavor. I helped Tony figure out if a problem with Xanga was due to Firefox or not (answer: not necessarily). We talked about Chinese characters and what ming ming means. At my insistence, Patrick showed off his artful flash cards.

Sun 17

Patrick went to visit Aaron today. Late breakfast by myself: turkey sausage patties, hash browns, eggs scrambled easy. Began making my halloween costume. Late lunch at home by myself: pastrami, salami, and swiss sandwich; tortilla chips. Archived old thank you cards. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftovers. Browsed Timmie's photos. Watched Boogie Nights on DVD which Patrick borrowed from Aaron. This film wasn't good but wasn't awful except for the writing. The dialogue was so cheesy at times I thought it was intentional but other times I really had to wonder.

Mon 18

Fruit smoothie and same breakfast as yesterday. Figured out how to make Retrospect visible through Windows Firewall after upgrading to SP2. Met briefly with student Brian C to discuss Web owner passwords and procedures. Did more work with other student organizations to help them reset their passwords. Talked to Donna at ITS briefly. Errands on Irving Street to pick up supplies I needed for my Halloween costume. Lunch at L'Avenida by myself. Met with Susie, who told me about her trip to Vietnam and we discussed some Web issues. Bill Gayle finally sent me the RFC I was promised on October 1. And then when I double-check, he says I can't send it to anyone. What good is that? SP2 upgrades and KeePass installations for James and Ena. Tweaked previous SP2 upgrades. Dinner at home with Patrick: pastrami, salami, and swiss sandwiches, leftover beets. Russian tea cookies from Ambrosia Bakery for dessert. Completed making my Halloween costume. I made it mostly with stuff I already had. The materials I had to buy cost me only $4.00!

Tue 19

Oatmeal with brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice and fresh peach. Heavy rain last night. Our ceiling started leaking again. No damage—just a little wet carpet. I put a bucket under the drip and moved one of our framed pieces of art aside from the drip area. Student computing committee meeting: with the help of many special guests, particularly Bill Gayle, we mapped out the student data flow through campus computer systems. A very productive meeting. Staff meeting: I gave a KeePass demonstration. Lunch with Melissa at the cafeteria (she brought her lunch). I had fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn off the cob. Windows updates on the server. Checked on Retrospect configurations. Lots of small Web changes: news, calendar. Listserv work. More Student Computing Committee work. Dinner at home by myself: fusilli bucati with red sauce, peas, almond cookies. Today Melissa gave me a new package of the Japanese instant portable drip coffee for me to send to Michael O'Brien. She found it in Japantown! We played the rabbit game from Honda—hate something, change something, make something better. Weird, but entertaining. Started playing Archipelago by woolythinking. Like Myst, except it's free! (And the production quality isn't as great.)

Wed 20

Oatmeal with brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice and fresh banana. Telecommute day now every other Wednesday instead of every Friday. Spent nearly the entire day writing code for the new homepage for Susie. It's not live yet, but when it's done it will have cleaner code than before. I still use tables because CSS in browsers today still doesn't do what I need it to. But yes, fewer tables than before. More divs. And I'm using background images to fill up dead space under specific browser conditions such as 1280x1024 maximized and/or large or very large browser font preferences. Lunch at home by myself: white cheddar mac and cheese, peas. Dinner at home with Patrick: 2 small DiGiorno pizzas. Made reservations today for a place to stay in Sacramento while we go to Tony Q's Halloween party.

Thu 21

Banana for breakfast. White Coat web updates for Joel. Initiated process to get digital copies of student photos from our partner who makes picture books. Finally tried out "Make Word's Default Paste Unformatted"—a Q&A from PC Magazine asked by Tom Patterson and answered by Neil J. Rubenking. Chris De Lay said the answer worked for him, but when I tried it in Word 2003 under Windows XP SP2 it wouldn't work for me. Whenever I'd record the macro, it seemed the wrong function ( Selection.PasteAndFormat (wdPasteDefault) ) was getting put in, and Ctrl+V did the formatted paste like I had done nothing about it. I found the correct function in MSDN and manually pasted it into the macro, and then it worked as I expected. Here's the complete working macro: Sub UnformattedTextPaste() ' ' UnformattedTextPaste Macro ' Macro recorded 10/21/2004 by Frank Farm ' Selection.Collapse Direction:=wdCollapseStart Selection.Range.PasteSpecial DataType:=wdPasteText End Sub Helped student Fred J with a computer virus problem. Lunch: roast turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, vegetable beef soup. Upgraded Cindy's computer to XP SP2. Helped student Ardelle L with a Web site. Planned a surprise event for me and Patrick. Dinner at home by myself: canned soup.

Fri 22

Called FedEx to reroute a package I'm expecting—I mistakenly put the wrong address. Oatmeal with pumpkin pie spice, then a banana. I bought pumpkin pie spice from Trader Joe's but I didn't realize until after I opened it that it doesn't have a shaker cover. Consequently, though I tap as lightly as I can, inevitably more spice falls into my oatmeal than I would like and I've decided that I must resort in the future to using a small teaspoon to prevent this problem. Patrick has been very happy that one of his favorite writers, Alan Hollinghurst, was recently awarded the Man Booker Prize—perhaps the most prestigious award for writers in Great Britain. The novel, "The Line of Beauty," is Hollinghurst's fourth. Updated a listserv. Upgraded Debrah's computer to XP SP2. Laptop maintenance and backup for Chris. Met with student Chris N—can't connect to the Internet (probable spyware, possible virus). Lunch with Melissa: we shared a chicken quesadilla from the cafeteria. Shopped for additional things for the new server: a tape backup solution (gonna try an Iomega Rev 35GB/90GB ATAPI drive), 8-port Tripp-Lite KVM to replace the 4-port Belkin KVM I have now, Retrospect 6.5 Single Server backup software, and a new Tripp-Lite UPS (SMART550UPS). Met with Melissa about electronic forms. Dinner at home by myself: ramen.

Sat 23

Worked on additional bonus pieces for my costume. Cleaned the bathroom. Cut my hair. Showered. Late breakfast with Patrick: turkey sausage, scrambled eggs, hash browns. Short nap. Bought Steve L's birthday present. Late dinner at home with Patrick: tacos with black refried beans and brown spanish rice. Watched Simpsons and a cooking show.

Sun 24

Pumpkin bagels with pumpkin cheesecake cream cheese schmear, autumn flavored coffee at Noah's. Grocery shopping at Albertson's. Made Halloween cupcakes for today's party: chocolate with Halloween sprinkles. (I goofed up the first batch—spice cake mix—by measuring out the water but forgetting to put it in.) Late lunch: leftover tacos. Nap. Shower. Went to the Halloween and Birthday party at Bryan L's place. There were costumes: Travis and Steve dressed as pirates, Tony Q dressed as a friar, Rich came as Zorro, Matt dressed as a prince in his homemade but professional looking costume, Emery dressed as a hockey player, Andy dressed as a country boy, I dressed as a gladiator, and Patrick dressed as a 1970s love hippie. There was a pumpkin carving contest, and the winner was the skull pumpkin by Travis and Steve. There was a birthday cake. Patrick and I met some new people: Robert, Dave, Roy, Herman, Hong, Brian, and others. We watched Goldmember and Latter Days on the bigger-than-my-body big screen TV.

Mon 25

Supplemental application preparation meeting with Cindy, Melissa, and James. It went well—we brainstormed a lot of ideas for the future of our supp app. Lunch with Melissa: we got food from the cafeteria and ate in Saunders Court, which had cool breezes, but the sun was warm. Spent most of the day removing deprecated code from stylesheets and optimizing them for speed. Chatted with Susie about the forthcoming home page redesign. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftover pizza, salad with tomatoes and vinaigrette. Dessert: candy corn! (just a few). I wish someone would make candy corn on the cob. Watched a bunch of Simpsons episodes. Chatted online with CD. Did some web archiving. Lately I have almost finished reading Harry Potter 5 for the second time. Patrick got a 90 out of 100 on his recent Mandarin exam!

Tue 26

Printer configuration for James. Reinstalled Tripp-Lite PowerAlert software for Kristina. Couldn't get PowerAlert 12 to work properly. It required Java and sure enough sometimes when I would start the applications I sat waiting and waiting and waiting for Java to do something while it seemed my screen froze up. Also, the status program worked as expected when I was logged in as admin, but not when I was logged in as a regular user. I couldn't figure out how to make it work properly—the icon in the system tray always appeared with a red question mark as though something was wrong. Uninstalled PowerAlert 12 and Sun Java 1.4.1, restarted, reinstalled PowerAlert 11, manually put a shortcut to the status app in the user's startup folder (not All Users), and now everything was fine. I had been thinking about Tripp-Lite for my next UPS purchase because their Web site seems straightforward and I can find things I need easily, but this experience has given me second thoughts. Met with 2 students today: Minh V (laptop problems) and Ardelle L (web questions). Linkchecking. More CSS work. Started looking at the images on cdrom that Susie sent in interoffice mail. Getting home on MUNI was painful. The 6:30 PM bus didn't show up, then the L train stalled at 19th Avenue—some problem with the doors. Instead of getting home by 6:50 PM, I got home around 7:20 PM. Organized files on the computer.

Wed 27

Cream of wheat with brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice and fresh banana slices. I decided a couple of days ago that the error message "One of the files containing the system's Registry data had to be recovered by use of a log or alternate copy. The recovery was successful." was due to the registry key entry (called DoNotAllowXPSP2 under HKLM\ Software\ Policies\ Microsoft\ Windows\ WindowsUpdate) I had inserted to block the Windows XP SP2 automatic update. This error message seems to no longer occur on computers which have have the key's value set to zero and then the computer is updated to SP2. Installed Firefox for Cindy. Helped Ena resolve a printing problem: when printing to the color printer her documents always came out black and white. I uninstalled the printer, then reinstalled it, and now it's working fine. Chatted with Kraig K about our server upgrade and e-mail migration. He was very helpful. Patrick and I attended a meeting sponsored by UCSF's Center for Gender Equity. Lawyer Linda M. Scaparotti talked about the changes forthcoming on January 1, 2005 when California Assembly Bill 205 takes effect. She said that AB205 will provide essentially all the California-state-conferred benefits of marriage to domestic partners who are registered with the California Secretary of State except it's not called marriage and we're not called spouses. Patrick and I hadn't been following these issues very closely, so were pleasantly surprised. She's a very good speaker; she made everything very clear and had a non-tiring speaking style. Lunch with Patrick at Park Chow. I had fusilli with chicken, sausage, and mushrooms. Patrick had the special: salmon sandwich on burger bun with a side of lentil soup. We both had ice teas. No dessert. $31 after a roughly $4.50 tip. More CSS work. Dinner at home by myself: canned soup, leftover brown spanish rice. I briefly saw tonight's lunar eclipse on the way home. The moon was darkened, but not completely so. When I got home there were too many clouds for me to see it. But when Patrick got home at around 9:45 PM we went outside again and saw the last minutes of it while sharing a kiss.

Thu 28

Breakfast at work: breakfast package (scrambled eggs, 2 sausage links, diced and deep-fried potatoes, toast with butter) and orange juice: $4.75. Spent most of the morning at Confidentially Speaking Day—a series of presentations about information security as well as a vendor showcase. I met Joe, an IT person from Neurology. I got to hear Tom Ferrin speak for the first time—he's very good. Helped Joel and Ena with the Career Fair. Worked on the home page redesign and CSS in the afternoon while eating a bag lunch that Joel let me have from the leftovers at the fair. I have all the images done for the new home page, but the CSS just isn't cooperating in all browsers. Very frustrating. Dinner at home with Patrick: Tuna Thyme—pan-seared tuna with thyme and sliced garlic, corn on the cob, country French bread with butter. Watched a Simpsons episode. Patrick and I baked a surprise for me to take to the office tomorrow. On the bus home today, my favorite driver James told me that another driver on our route has been calling in sick or just not coming in or something, so that's why sometimes there's no 6:30 PM bus. When the other guy can't come in, he is told to cover one route, and the timing works out that there's no bus leaving 9th and Judah for about 45 minutes. Patrick went to Chili's and Cost Plus today.

Fri 29

Oatmeal, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, freshly sliced banana. Chatted with Susie and made changes to the strategic plan site for her. Linkchecking. Small various web updates. Chatted briefly with applicant Christine in the 714 area code about a problem with our PDF forms, but when I reached her she said she had already figured it out. Student Dina M gave me a small box of See's candies to thank me for helping her with her laptop questions. Thanks, Dina! Helped out with the White Coat Ceremony. Afterwards, the class of 2007 had extra flowers from their bouquet sale and they gave each of us a bouquet! Ena let me have a mini decorative pumpkin, too.

Sat 30

I can't remember all I dreamt last night, but in part of it there was a sign posted that said NO WHISTLING but some people were whistling anyway. Fruit smoothie, hash browns, and eggs scrambled easy for me. Fruit smoothie and grape nuts for Patrick. Archived documents. Patrick and I began watching a DVD called The Works of Director Chris Cunningham. Weird, sometimes disturbing music videos. So far my favorite is Only You by Portishead, which was filmed underwater—very eerie. Late lunch: canned soup by Wolfgang Puck (chicken tortilla, country vegetable). Went to our first GAMX event (see gamx.org) after Tony A invited us to go. A Halloween party, of course. It was held nearby in the Richmond district at Paul N's place. About 75 people replied yes to the evite, so it was a very crowded but pleasant affair. Most everyone came in costume. Patrick and I repeated our costumes from last weekend, with Patrick wearing a blond wig instead of a brunet one. Since there were so many people, I won't attempt to list everyone here. I was most impressed with Hao's costume. He wore dark sunglasses and modified a thrift store overcoat with silver air ducts and foil-wrapped claws to create a 4-armed (instead of 8-armed) Mr. Octopus from the recent Spider-Man 2 film. A ball of fire was in one claw, and a small Spiderman action figure was in another. Fishing line enabled him to "secretly" control the 2 lower arms. The whole costume was unwieldy and he had a hard time eating and drinking, but I thought it was easily the most impressive one of the evening. The disco slut and Grandma and the Empress of China won the 3 costume contests. Stephen W let us try out some interesting, new fragrances. Yan-Hui and others got us to fill out health surveys for research. We enjoyed mostly Asian foods at the buffet. People we knew: Hao, Stephen W, Yan-Hui, Erick S, Galen, Sean/Shawn. Patrick and I enjoyed meeting new people. Where was Tony A?

Sun 31

I laughed twice recently while reading about products in the Cyberguys fall/winter 2004 catalog. One item is called the Forever Flashlight—it has magnetic coils inside and you shake it in order to generate power for the flashlight—no batteries needed. However, if it's supposed to last "forever," why does it have only a one-year warranty? The headline for the other funny item said, "Compliment your Metal Case with an All-Aluminum Keyboard" and in smaller print below it also said, "(Keys are not aluminum)." Breakfast at Baghdad Cafe: Patrick had the western scramble and coffee and I had the croissant breakfast sandwich and a chai tea. We bought a housewarming present (Carson Kressler reads Off the Cuff on CD-ROM) for Tony Q at Books Inc. Laundry. Car wash at Divisadero Car Wash. Prepared for the road trip. Drove to Sacramento. Dinner at Chevy's in Fairfield with Patrick: I had lemon rosemary tacos. Patrick had a soft chicken taco with a pig tamale. The chicken in my tacos was very dry, as was the rice. Checked in to our bed and breakfast in Sacramento. It's called The Inn at Parkside (916-658-1818, 800-995-7275, 2116 Sixth Street, Sacramento CA 95818), which we found pretty easily with directions and maps from Mapquest. Phillip very professionally and efficiently greeted us and checked us in to our room, which was called Passion (qing re). It used to be the residence of one Mr. Fong, an official representative to the United States from Nationalist China prior to 1949. The decor of the hotel was inspired by the house's history: Chinese antiques and replicas, many photographs of the Fong family, and Chinese artwork. Our bedroom was tastefully appointed with a queen-sized dark wood bed; an entertainment cabinet with TV, DVD player, and CD boombox with a relaxation CD; Chinese art (wood carvings, statues, paintings); antique chairs and lamps; a Hurley ceiling fan with remote control. Our bathroom was surprisingly large with a mirrored vanity in front of a full wall mirror at one end and a 2-person jacuzzi tub at the other. In between were the toilet, the sink, and a faux fireplace which generated heated air. The bath rugs were particularly plush. The main parlor was closed for remodeling, so in place of their normal wine and cheese at 8:00 PM, they instead gave us a bottle of 2003 Black Swan cabernet sauvignon from southeast Australia in our room. After checking in around 3:30 PM, we changed into our costumes and drove to Tony Q's house. We wore this year's costumes for (hopefully) the last time—me as gladiator and Patrick as 1960s/70s love hippie. Patrick, Scott T, Andy M, Michael, and Brian L practiced free love in Tony's bedroom. We met Drew and Philippe, Marija, Nathanial C (1970s disco queen), Michael, Armando and Paul, Andy, Irwin, Franky, Shai Justin Thomas Yeck; Tony's siblings: Christina, Danny; Christina's boyfriend. Tony was again dressed as a friar. Others there we already knew included Scott (Japanese tourist) and Andy (white spirit), Brian, Galen (military dude). Andy's costume was an all white stretchy fabric which nearly covered him from head to toe. I had just finished telling him "Andy, your costume is a food disaster waiting to happen" when he accidentally spilled Hawaiian Punch down the front of his costume. Somehow, magically, it all came out with a few quick brushes of the hand, but we all had a great laugh over the incident and my ability to instantly jinx him. Andy demonstrated how he is a human interface to babynamer.com. I learned who Sneeper is tonight. I demonstrated my 500,000-candlepower flashlight for Andy, Scott, and Galen. Tony let Andy M use his computer to look something up on the Web then foolishly left the room. Andy proceeded to continue Tony's chats in IRC but saying things like "I AM SO HORNY!!!" Food, food, FOOD! Chicken drumsticks, chao siu bao, giant potstickers, chili, Doritos, salad, cupcakes, candy. Drinks: the popular drink of the night was some drink where you mix blue curacao with beer. Where were Travis and Steve? (We'd heard that Travis fell ill.)